India, Pak begin talks on Indus Waters Treaty

India, Pak begin talks on Indus Waters Treaty”

Since the Pathankot and Uri attacks past year, New Delhi has discouraged any kind of dialogue unless cross-border terrorism comes to an end.

The latest round of the Secretary-level discussions between both countries on the technical issues, which has been raised by Pakistan regarding construction of the Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric power plants within the framework of the Indus Waters Treaty, took place on September 14-15 in Washington.

In a previous statement, the bank praised "the spirit of goodwill and cooperation" that both India and Pakistan demonstrated in the last meeting and hoped that they would maintain this spirit to peacefully settle the current dispute as well.

She also said that the Sept 14-15 meetings in Washington focused on "the technical issues of the treaty" and the bank will provide more information about the talks when available.

India and Pakistan started high-level talks on technical issues of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) here on Thursday night.

The release further said that the World Bank is committed to fulfill its responsibilities under the Treaty, while continuing to assist both the countries.

Indian delegation is led by Water Resources Secretary Amarjit Singh, along with officials from ministries of external affairs and water resources.

The Indus Water Treaty signed in 1960 deals with water distribution and sharing of the six rivers of the Indus basin, of which the three eastern rivers Beas, Sutlej, Ravi were allocated to India and the three western rivers Jhelum, Chenab and Indus to Pakistan.

The Pakistan team was led by Secretary, Water Resources Division Arif Ahmed Khan along with Secretary of Water and Power Yousuf Naseem Khokhar. India interprets the permission for "other uses", as meaning that it cannot only construct the Kishanganga and Ratle dams, but also several other projects.

According to sources, Pakistan was to repeat its reservations under the Indus Waters Treaty over the design change in the 330MW Kishanganga hydroelectric plant, being constructed at River Neelum by India, as well the design of the 850MW Ratli hydroelectric plant being constructed on River Chenab.

India, however, argues that the treaty also allows other "uses", including the construction of hydro-electric plants.

The World Bank initially agreed to setting up both fora but later "paused" both process for establishment of the Court of Arbitration and appointment of the Neutral Expert for the reason that two forums carry the potential for conflicting rulings.

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